Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Nickls on 01-29-2009

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Reviews: 113 | Ratings: 175
Photo of mikeyv35
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2009 Vintage
11.2oz. Bottle #48733 into Gulden Draak Tulip

This brew pours black as night (looked more stout than old ale) w/ a thin tan head. Beautiful lacing that continued to hang on the glass throughout the sampling. The nose on this one was of strong chocolate and roasted espresso beans up front w/ oak, light scotch, and vanilla pipe tobacco in the background. Taste was pretty much on point w/ the nose, with the addition of burnt toffee, woodiness, and a slight alcohol warmth on the finish. Medium bodied - kinda slick on the tongue, and leaves dry and clean. This was an enjoyable offering, but this is more scotch than beer in my opinion, which takes away from it's drinkability. Definate sipper. Not that it matters to the review, but this one is extremely pricey @ $19.99/11.2oz. bottle. Overall, not amazing, but nice and would sample again anytime.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stumbled across this at Sam's South Loop and figured I should give it a shot. Served in an Atomium snifter.

A - Surprising foam for an old ale - a half finger of tan foam that dissipates fairly quickly to a ring. Black with some dark, dark brown hints at the fringes of the glass.

S - Dark fruits, smokey peat, wood, whiskey, chocolate, roast malts. Nice balance while rich and complex. It's a little boozy but it obviously is stylistically appropriate.

T - The taste is much smoother, without as much of the whisky flavor and more of the dark fruit old ale/barleywine flavor going on. There's still some wood flavor in the aftertaste, but I don't get as much of the smoke or whiskey flavor. The milder taste makes it easier to drink but also makes me feel cheated a little compared to the wonderful smell.

M - Consider this was basically a cask-only offering until now I'm pretty satisfied with the mild carbonation and medium-to-thick body. It's not totally flat but it's very smooth and leaves behind some dry smokiness and sticky caramel sensations.

D - The 4oz serving was plenty after two pints of Double Jack, but I'm pretty confident I could have had the whole bottle if it was earlier in the session. The aftertaste is smoky but not overwhelming, and the ABV is surprisingly low for a barrel-aged brew that is this rich in flavor.

I'm going to have to re-visit the other Ola Dubh brews to compare them against this one. If you're a Scotch whiskey lover this is worth trying for sure.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Maxs.

Like the Ola Dubh 30, this one is dark brown with a dark brown head. Retention is poorer, but this still is a good looking beer. Again, the nose is smoky, peaty, chocolate-y, but smoother, milder and a little more delicate. The peat is a little bit more, and the smoke, a little less. Excellent stuff. Not very boozy, and the whisky notes are incredible. On the palate, the nose is replicated, opening up with the whisky, along with a mild licorice, brown sugar, nuttiness. Finishing rather dry and smoky with some whiskey, this beer is a treat. Excellent stuff

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.72/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask, gravity poured at the Brick Store Pub. I'm a great lover of whisky or whiskey laced beers, at least via the barrel, and this one is no exception. Superb, and my favorits of the series after the 30 year cask. Pours black with no head, but no worries here. Smells of peat, the barrel, and whisky. Very smooth and balanced and not in the least bit hot- compared to say, the 18 which was quite so. The taste is beautifully balanced with lots of restrained whiskey character. Briny, smooth, peaty, malty, and simply whiskyish. Wonderful. Ultra smooth in the mouth and deliciously drinkable.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an smooth, opaque black with no head at all.

Nose is chocolate, smooth, a hint of peaty acidity, and a very subtle, mellow roasty underpinning.

Taste is rich and so mellow - smooth milk chocolate notes, with a tiny bite of acidity, a very subtle peaty smoke note, and an earthy, organic finish. Very unique beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but with that round, silky, gentle fluffiness that comes from well conditioned cask. Superb.

30 on cask is still my favorite, but this one is still a gem. Several of my favorite barrel-aged beers are Scotch aged, and this one reinforces that streak.

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Photo of gford217
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the Brick Store.

Arrives ink black in the glass with only a few bubbles around the top, all of which recede quickly to nothing and leave no lacing.

The aroma is big on this one and dominated by the scotch barrels. There are some sweet malts in the background.

The taste is a little different as the sweet chocolate malts come out more as well as some dark fruits. The scotch is present but not as dominate as the nose and the taste, overall, is like a scotch-soaked chocolate dessert.

The mouthfeel is very slick and smooth with almost no carbonation and plenty of barrel presence.

I really enjoyed this one, especially the taste which was very well balanced given the barrel aging. Very tasty.

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Photo of bhalter8
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The run of casks leading up to the Ola Dubh 40 yr at the Brick has been fun. 40 yr was certainly an exciting pour. Looks very similar to the 30 yr in that it is an ink black, this one has little to almost no head though. Very low carbonization, as well, it really looks like ink, really... The whiskey smell is apparent, with some sweet malt hints. A very warming feeling as soon as it hits your mouth, the whiskey is once again significantly present. There is some , maybe caramel, sweetness in the background that provides an interesting dynamic to the whiskey. I enjoyed drinking this to start off my evening at the Brick, but the strength of it, and the whiskey, makes it more of a beer that stands on it own. Definitely a distinct, and delicious flavor.

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Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the glorious Brick Store Pub in Atlanta.

Pours black with dark brown highlights and a large-bubbled tan head the recedes very quickly into a thin ring around the glass leaving no lacing.

Smells of whiskey with hints of chocolate and roasted malts. The whiskey isn't overpowering though, which is impressive.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Whiskey flavors are at the forefront, although it still retains a good amount of "beer" flavors. Light chocolate flavors and roasted malts are there, along with simple sweet malts. The ending holds a bit of alcohol burn along with whiskey flavors that stick around for a bit.

Mouthfeel is interesting. It has the tiniest amount of carbonation, but it manages to not taste flat.

Drinkability is good - at least for me. I'm a fan of whiskey, and I could sip on this beer for quite a while.

Overall this is one of those Sam Adams/Calagione "extreme beers" that pushes the limits of what beer can be. The whiskey flavors are as intense as any beer I've had, but it still manages not to go too far over the threshold. Be sure to give this one a shot if you can.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Gravity Pour from a 40L Steel Cask at The Brick Store Pub - Pours pitch black almost completely opaque with a small one finger head that immediately recedes. Smells mostly of whisky with some burnt roasted malts in the nose. First sip is tangy with a rush of whisky being by far the most dominate flavor. There is chocolate and a tad of coffee along with some burnt malts and dark fruits all a supporting role. As it warms, some vanilla and smoke appear adding to the beer's complexity. There is absolutely no carbonation present and the beer is fairly light bodied. I sipped this in a vertical of Old Engine Oil, 12 Year, 30 Year, and a shot of 12 Year old single malt Highland Park Whisky. The difference between the 30 and the 40 year versions were minuet.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

8 oz. pour into a snifter. Dark brown to black with no head or noticeable carbonation. Yeasty nose with hints of whiskey. Sweet, caramelized malt taste and medium-heavy on the tounge. Aldehydes in the finish with hops barely present.

Very interesting beer. The whiskey barrel aging is evident in the nose, but not overly so. Sweet, but not cloying. The taste reminded me of the sweetness found in dark bread. The finish was complex, with cabernet notes. Might have had a second if it wasn't so expensive ($16 US) and this isn't a style of beer I usually drink.

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Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap/cask at Mahaffey's the other day.

The beer pours a blacksih brown color with fairly good head retention and lacing. The nose on this beer is attractive, consisting of molasses, peat, light chocolate and vanilla. The peatiness in this beer is very dominant in this beer and is almost too much of a good thing. Nevertheless, like the 30, it adds some additional comlexity to the aroma that is attractive and intriguing. The beer is pretty delicious on the palate, with the flavors replicating the nose. The beer has a very soft, plush mouthfeel, with a long, creamy finish. Alcohol is pretty well disguised and I had no problem knocking back a couple of 5 ounce glasses.

A nice beer, though I'm not sure it's any better then the 30. Unless they were priced similarly, I would probably always get the 30.

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Photo of bonbini26
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask @ the Rattle n Hum 02-07-09

A - black as night pour with very little carbonation, barely a head that fades quickly

S - Whiskey, vanilla, oak, charred smoked smell

T - Def. taste the whiskey but its not overwhelming, then the smokiness of vanilla and oak, no carbonation, almost on the sweet side

M - no carbonation at all, silky smooth

D -Def. a sipper, stands up to any whiskey barrel ale i've had before

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Photo of Nickls
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(From notes)

A - Near jet black appearance, with brown highlights and hues around the edges. Poured with a thin tan head that quickly dissipated. Looks very dense.

S - Emphatic (in a good way) whiskey aromas with definitive vanilla and oak aromas as well. Really great in this dept.

T - Whiskey dominates at first, but the vanilla comes into play wonderfully as you continue. Some earthiness and almost savory characteristics as well

M - A little viscous and oily, but not as heavy as the other aspects of the brew might suggest. Very muted carbonation (on cask), but suited the brew very well

D - Very drinkable in that the overall complexity of the brew demanded another sip. Very easy to sip and enjoy.

Overall, this was a fantastic brew. I would highly recommend.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.26 out of 5 based on 175 ratings.
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